A ‘Ta-Da’ Moment by Sandra Crook, winner of the Hysteria 2016 Short Story category

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“You were never really on board with the plan, were you?”

Ruth is nothing if not direct.  My daughter-in-law and I haven’t enjoyed a close relationship, but there’s always been a healthy respect between us, and we cut each other a lot of slack.  She is, as usual, correct in her assumption.

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Sea change by Sharon Telfer, winner of the Hysteria 2016 flash fiction category

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My heart sank.

I watched it go. It fought hard to keep afloat. I took my boathook, knocked back its jellyfish pulses. I had to make sure. Cracked, it bubbled silver as it dropped, an aspirin fizz then one toxic gulp like mercury breaking from a thermometer. It stopped struggling after that, twisted, turned in the tug of the tide, spiralling slowly down into the deep dark.

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Finishing Touches by Sophie Duffy

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So you’ve written your piece to enter the Hysteria Writing Competition 2016? If you haven’t, you’ve still got three weeks in which to do this. You still have time to start and complete a piece, if you crack on with it. If you’ve already finished your poem, flash, or story, then it won’t do any harm to go back over it and check those finishing touches.

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What are your intentions? by Sophie Duffy

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Whatever you are writing for this competition, make sure your piece has honourable intentions. By this I mean, make sure your entry has a point, a story, something to say. A competent use of grammar, a way with words, a quirky style is a good start, but it isn’t enough. You need to leave the judges with an impression that is hard to shake. You need to give your piece of writing a life that will go on after they have finished reading.

Here’s a few things to think about when starting out or redrafting.

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That elusive thing: subtext, Sophie Duffy

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For this blog I want to talk about that elusive thing: subtext.

Subtext is the magic ingredient that can add layers and depth to any piece of writing. It can make your story, flash, or poem rise like a fluffy fairy cake. Without it, your story, flash, or poem, might just remain flat, with or without a soggy bottom. (Yes, that is a really bad metaphor but imagery and symbolism have their part to play in subtext, to which I will return.)

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